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" Woden" - Wood Fired Kiln - The Fifth Firing!

This page records the fifth firing of the Woden kiln in November 2012. It is an archive of photographs taken during and after the firing.

The kiln had no alterations done since the last firing.

This firing included a collection of mortaria, urns and beakers made by Bill Crumbleholme. Laurence Eastwood provided a selection of mugs and bowls and a teapot. Guest potters submitted their work to the flames, including Jennie Hanrahan, Alistair Hampson, Sean Cannon, Caz Scott and Susan Hughes.

Menu for sections on this Page:-

Making Pots

Loading Pots

Firing Kiln

Unloading Pots


Making Pots - Autumn 2012


There are no images of making.

Loading Pots 21st & 22nd November 2012

Laurence hacking

Laurence warming up, hacking up some wood.


Back of the kiln

The back of the kiln, half loaded.

This firing had more raw glazed pots that ever before - items that have not be pre-fired before the glaze is applied.

Jugs etc

A collection of offerings from guest potters.

Coffee Break

Bill and Laurence stop for coffee.

Very lucky with the weather, the suns shines on the righteous (although the Biblical quote carries on to say and the unrighteous alike, but people often leave that bit out!)

Susan Hughes with figure

Susan Hughes with her sculpted figure.

Alistair Hampson with vase

Alistair Hampson with a vase.

Back of kiln

The back of the kiln stacked.

Laurence with his teapot of trust

Laurence with his Teapot of Trust.

Laurence's teapot and tea bowls

Laurence's Tea Pot and Tea Bowls.

Bill's Beakers

Some of Bill's 60 odd beakers - kiln fillers, that fill up the smaller spaces between the larger pieces and help spread the path of the flames. Plus they are very desirable drinking vessels.

Half the front loaded

Half, well perhaps a quarter, of the front of the kiln loaded.

Laruence looking worried

Laurence looking slightly worried about the middle stack of props.

Top Pot

Bill bricking up the top of the door.

Firing Kiln - 24th November 2012


Cone Spy hole

Reduction over


The firing day started calm, but gradually the wind picked up and the drizzle increased. The wind helped to burn the fuel more efficiently and this was the fastest firing yet - all over by 8pm.

This is a view of the cones through the spyhole.

The cones are the diagonal uprights, which melt and bend over at specific temperatures (or when heated enough over a longer period). They show when the glazes should be mature.

Here they are still upright - this was at about midday, after an all night gentle preheat - a couple of logs of elm every hour and a half or so to maintain about 100C to dry out the pots and the bricks of the kiln.

From 6am the stoking was increased to bring up the temperature to 1000C by midday, when a period of reduction was started by removing the passive dampers in the chimney, that cut down the updraught.

A flame is coming out of the cone spyhole, showing that reduction is happening, as a positive pressure builds up inside the kiln chamber, filled with smoke which draws out the oxygen from the clay and glazes.

The passive damper hole was used to cook some pizza, by the ever-hungry Laurence. It worked very well, as did the baked potatoes in the evening!

The fuel used was mainly elm logs, whole to start with, then split into halves and quarters. Some pallet slats and other surplus timber was also used towards the end.

It was found that if the slightly damp pieces were placed in the bottom of the firebox, they would dry out and start to burn. Then they were put into the top of the fireboxes, where they immediately ignited, without causing the usual drop in temperature, suffered as the initial heating and burning took some energy from the fire. So reaching 1250C was not too much of a struggle and keeping it soaking for a couple of hours was not too difficult.

The digital thermometer behaved well, showing the rise in temperature, with two thermocouples placed near the top and bottom of the chamber, this firing showed the bottom being hotter than previous firings. However the actual readings are not in calibration as they showed 1170C when the cones when over at 1250C.

The firing was the easiest so far, in terms of burning and stoking, but the weather was very wet by the evening, with mud all round the kiln site and local roads flooded. The stokers are likely to strike if they do not get a better shelter in time for the next firing!


Unloading Pots - 28th November 2012


Bill with newly opened kiln

Bill with newly opened kiln

Front load

The front face of the chamber, before unpacking.

Looking Good!


A batch of beakers, used as kiln fillers between larger bowls.

The Cornish Stone with whitings and yellow iron oxide glaze has worked very well, with just a few gaps where it peeled off while drying.


Large bowl with lovely toasted surface and light oatmeal inside.


A collection of various pots, just unloaded.


A couple of mortaria, the light oatmeal glaze has been very pleasantly mottled by the wood ash, which melts into the glaze and runs slightly to produce a very attractive effect.

3 big jars

Three large jars, turned out all right.

Bucket urn

Hand built bucket urn, with handle. Made in sections with joints showing as thickened flanges. The finger pinched surfaces show how the clay was thinned out.

Guest Pots

Guest pots

Guest pots.



More mortaria.

And the final stack of beakers.

Susan Hughes Man

Susan Hughes Man. Slightly cracked, but almost still in one piece!

Report and Conclusions

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Watch this space!

Initial reaction = very good - Bridport Arts Centre here we come.


Comments are very welcome - email Bill Crumbleholme


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